Archive from February, 2009
4 Feb
2009
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It Was 50 Years Ago Today That the Music Died

On Feb. 3, 1959, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash after leaving a Rock ‘n Roll gig in Clear Lake, Iowa. All three young rockers were at the top of their game, carving out a lasting place for themselves in a music format that was still in its infancy.

The event was immortalized in Don McLean’s epic tune, “American Pie.” (Don’t listen to the Madonna version, it’s a travesty.)

Long live Rock and Roll.

4 Feb
2009
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Northeast Is Key To Restoring The Republican Party

John J. Pitney writes a great article on National Review Online about the challenge ahead for the GOP. It looks like Michael Steele wants to pursue a plan similar to the “50 State Strategy” employed by Democratic Chair Howard Dean after John Kerry’s loss in the 2004 presidential election. According to “The Plan” listed on the GOP’s Rebuild the Party website…the party will attempt to run candidates in all 435 House districts in 2010.

If the Republicans are to be competitive in the Northeast…they will need to deal with these sobering facts from the 2008 election:

Republicans are currently in none of the 22 House districts representing New England. Also..according to Gallup…Party identification favors the Democrats by a staggering difference in Massachusetts (34%), New York (27%), and Connecticut (26%).

Chairman Steele must find a way to make Republicans competitive in the Northeast…or the GOP will remain the minority party in Congress for years to come.

4 Feb
2009
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Day 15: Is President Obama’s Honeymoon Over?

The Obama Administration received some bad news today when Tom Daschle decided to withdraw his nomination for head of the Health & Human Services Department.

However, the most troubling news for the new president is watching his near trillion dollar stimulus package (a.k.a Massive, Unsustainable Spending Bill) plummet in popularity.

According to the latest Gallup Poll …only 38% of Americans support the bill in its current form…including just 13% of Republicans.

Also…only a meager 10% of those polled say that the stimulus plan will improve the economy in 2009.

This puts Senate Republicans and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a great position to present alternatives to public…such as a decrease in the corporate tax rate, which would free up companies to hire additional workers.

Tax cuts are crucial to stimulating the economy. Ronald Reagan demonstrated this in 1980 by implementing across the board tax cuts that helped create 35 million new jobs and led to the longest period of peacetime growth (1982-1990) in American History.

If President Obama doesn’t follow this model…and raises taxes on corporations and high wage earners during a recession…he may follow in the disastrous footsteps Herbert Hoover after the stock market crash of 1929.

4 Feb
2009
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Steele Announces his Transition Team

Chairman Steele announced his transition team and I must admit — I’m really excited about the former Senate candidate and his upcoming tenure as head of the RNC.

What do you guys think?

3 Feb
2009
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Binge Drinking at the Tavern

In what is going to be another great example of missed opportunities (and an extraordinarily unfathomable mismanagement by several key members of the city administration) the city has set May 1st at the deadline for bids to operate the almighty Tavern on the Green for years to come.

Tavern on the Green, that landmark venue in the heart of Central Park which hosts around 750,000 guests a year and generated $38M in revenue in 2007 has it’s lease and revenue sharing contract coming due at the end of this year!

Under the present agreement, the city charges the operator $1M in rent per year. This translates into $83,333 per month, or $3.0864 per month per square foot. We in turn agree to maintain the roadway and “garden” around it in pristine shape and beauty at a cost of tens of millions.

As tax payers we are also apparently entitled to 3.5% of the gross revenue generated by what apparently is the second highest revenue generating restaurant in the nation. According to the restaurants website, their revenue is roughly $34M a year. So if my mathematical skills are still what they were in 4th grade, that should mean the city was due around $1.19M. So for 2008 the city should have collected $2.19M total. Well apparently we only collected $1.268M.

Hmm, I wonder what happened there? Let’s make a few assumptions: Assume Tavern on the Green booked absolutely no private parties and lost half of the total revenue they claim to average. So their revenue is now $17M, the city would be due $595k not the $286k it was paid.

Lets make these assumptions even more tragic (to account for the terrible economy) and assume that not only did they not host any private parties, but they also had 50% less patrons and their revenue dropped to $8.5M for 2008. Under this new assumption the city would be due $297k not the $286k it was paid.

I understand that I might not have the exact figures to calculate an exact balance due to the city. However, even under the worst of assumptions I think it is clear that the city is not being compensated appropriately.

I am not suggesting that the city should assume the responsability of operating and managing the day to day business at Tavern on the Green, but considering the torrid financial situation, I do beleive it behooves the city to pay close attention to whoever the new proprietor is, what kind of a deal we grant him, and how transparent his bookkeeping is.

3 Feb
2009
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Dan Schorr Campaign Opening

Sal Calise Award Winner and Fellow YR Dan Schorr will open his campaign HQ Thursday!

DISTRICT ATTORNEY CANDIDATE DAN SCHORR
TO OFFICIALLY OPEN CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 30, 2009 – (White Plains, NY) Dan Schorr, an experienced prosecutor and candidate for Westchester County District Attorney, will officially open his campaign headquarters with a press conference on Thursday, February 5 at 10am at the Westchester County Republican headquarters located at 214 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains.

“Over the past several months we have discussed with people throughout Westchester the need for the DA’s Office to take tougher stands in order to remove dangerous criminals from our streets and act more aggressively to protect crime victims. With better management we can provide enhanced and more accessible services to victims of domestic violence and repair the important relationship between the District Attorney and our local police departments,” Schorr said. “Opening our campaign headquarters is our next major step, building upon the campaign’s early successes and continuing our work towards bringing about a safer Westchester.”

Follow the Link for more: http://www.electdanschorr.com/index_original.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61

3 Feb
2009
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Palin the Party’s Powerbase?

Steve Kornacki over at the NY Observer put together a piece on Governor Palin and her future as a potential Presidential candidate in 2012. It’s an interesting look at the “divide” amongst Republicans, (he quotes the lastest Rasmussen poll stating that Republicans prefer a conservative candidate, over a moderate one,) and that her popularity is still sky-high, (as demostrated by her recent attendance at the Alfalfa Dinner in DC).

I guess I would rather pose the question, is it about issues or is it because people like Palin? I like like her hometown, no-nonsense feel, don’t others? Is it the Hockey Mom-turned-Alaska Governor’s determination and star feel that draw folks to her? Or is it about more?

3 Feb
2009
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What’s The Best Strategy For The GOP?

Since suffering heavy losses in the 2008 election….the Republican Party has been having an internal battle over what direction the party should go in.

On Townhall.com…Michael Barone writes that he believes that the GOP should go after upscale voters living in affluent suburbs…rather than set their sites toward rural conservatives that were energized by Sarah Palin’s vice presidential candidacy.

I tend to agree with Mr. Barone…but still believe that Republicans need to create a message centered around two main points…individualism and personal responsibility…in order to win future elections. These were two key focal points in Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory…and led America to great prosperity and confidence after the dismal Carter Administration.

We as a party have to take our inspiration from the “Great Communicator” and come up with a simple message that the American people can both comprehend and embrace. The days of “Karl Rove Politics” need to end…where the GOP targeted cultural conservatives in the Midwest and South in order win elections.

Republicans should be thrilled with their new chair Michael Steele…as he believes strongly in limited government, a strong national defense, and is more mainstream on social issues. He just the man to unite Republicans…and will give us a chance to boost our numbers in the Northeast

2 Feb
2009
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Power Politics

American history, thankfully, does not provide for us many instances to ruminate on the characteristics of dictatorial government. Aside from the era of the New Deal, an intellectual import of collectivist (Fascist, to be more precise) Europe, America’s history is one of personal freedom and responsibility. As such, it would be somewhat surprising if Joe or Jane Public were to recognize tyranny when it struts onto the political stage only thinly disguised. Yet open a history book, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar or Hamlet, or the Communist Manifesto and suddenly the observer becomes acutely aware that decisions already made in this young administration are not about economics, liberty, or security, but the plain advancement of government authority. No, money is not the root of all evil; however, if abused it becomes a convenient conduit for the true seed: power.

To that end, taxes and regulation are a form of control. They build steadily over the years with virtually no respite. The unfortunate consequence is complacency and relegation on behalf of the citizenry. While citizens inclined towards the ideals of liberty should always keep their ears perked for serpentine encroachment, rarely do we hear a hiss the grass as loudly as we do today.

President Obama’s thematic response to our current economic crisis has been in the traditionally conservative rhetoric of personal responsibility. We are lectured (really, lectured) about our greed, about our wastefulness, about our civic duty demanded of us for the benefit of our neighbors in words that sound more appropriate coming from a Commander-in-Chief than a Chief Executive. Personal responsibility has indeed made this country great, but Obama’s actions, in particular, his stimulus package and pick of certain Cabinet officials, suggest that this responsibility won’t be so personal, unless one considers state coercion intrinsically component to that American civic tenet.

No, the responsibility Obama speaks about is your responsibility to government. Your duty to bail out banks with your tax dollars; your right to tell automakers what cars to make; your stewardship of the environment, including classifying carbon dioxide as a pollutant worthy of regulation; your responsibility to reduce your carbon footprint and to fund the healthcare of illegal immigrants; and finally, your right to government healthcare, subject to the changing standards of a whimsical bureau. Do not be fooled. This is autocracy, not liberty.

Observe: When governments play for power, the financial health of the nation no longer matters. That’s why a dangerous federal deficit is not only disregarded, but favored. Deficit spending leads not to recovery, but lays the groundwork for additional calamity; conditions richly suited for additional government control, all in the name, of course, of benevolence.

Such talk is often derided as paranoia, overstatement, or extremism by critics. But can they name even one hero in classic literature that is an autocrat? Not in the Greek or Shakespearean tradition. Nor in the Bible, where that role is reserved (sparingly) for God alone, and where Adam and Eve suffer dearly for their hubris. No, these classics, overwhelmingly tragic in nature, exist to remind us that a lust for power is real and will only die with mankind.

2 Feb
2009
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Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter, but Staten Island Chuck predicts an early spring

Happy Groundhog Day.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.
But Staten Island Chuck did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring. Here is the video.

I prefer Staten Island Chuck.

~ Staten Island Matt